July 16, 2024
Tiger Woods

Padraig Harrington has suggested that Tiger Woods has spoken about leaving the PGA Tour and joining the PGA Tour Champions
Padraig Harrington has revealed that Tiger Woods has spoken about the prospect of leaving the PGA Tour.

Tiger Woods, 48, has turned down offers to join the breakaway LIV Golf Tour and remained loyal to the PGA but there could be another change on the horizon. He is 18 months away from his 50th birthday, which would make him eligible for PGA Tour Champions.

Formerly the Senior PGA Tour, the organisation has been openly planning for Woods’ arrival and is seemingly willing to alter the age limit solely to bring Woods into the fold earlier. When quizzed about the possibility by PGA Champion golfer Steve Stricker, Woods said: “No, I’m not ready. I want to follow in the same footsteps as Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer, Bernhard Langer [by entering aged 50].”

The PGA Tour Champions also allows players to use carts to get around the course, which would aid Woods’ chances of success. Despite Woods’ previous protestations, Harrington has hinted that the golf legend is excited to leave the PGA Tour.

“He’d love to win that Grand Slam and get some of the other senior majors on his CV,” Harrington told Golf Week. “I saw him at the course (during the PNC Championship in December) and we were just crossing paths and he laughed at me. I won’t say exactly what he said but the gist of it was he can’t wait to get out and beat me.”

Woods has won 15 major titles during his illustrious career, with the most recent coming at the 2019 Masters, putting him second on the all-time list behind Jack Nicklaus (18). This year, Woods finished 60th at the Masters and recently missed the cut at both the PGA Championship and US Open.

Moving over to the PGA Tour Champions would present Woods with an opportunity to win a unique Grand Slam. The 48-year-old is a three-time US Junior, US Amateur and US Open winner and could add the US Senior Open to that list.

The PGA Champions is aware that the prospect of Woods joining would lead to unprecedented levels of interest in the tour, surpassing Phil Mickelson’s arrival in 2021. That same year, tour president Miller Brady recalled a conversation with Stricker about changing the age limit: “I said, ‘No, we just did this,’ unless Tiger tells me he’d play right now. (If that’s the case), I’ll lower the age tomorrow.”

Brady has since confirmed that the organisation held a meeting in June last year to discuss “the craziest things” that could happen when Woods finally switches over to PGA Champions. Whether he does make that decision before his 50th birthday remains to be seen but Woods will eventually have his eyes set on new challenges, such as eclipsing Langer’s 12 senior major titles.

When former US Open winner Geoff Oglivy, 47, was asked about the possibility of Woods moving over to the senior tour, he said: “Taking a cart changes everything for him. Interest both from fans and sponsors is going to be through the roof. I think there’s a good chance that Champions Tour ratings can top the PGA Tour when he decides to play. And what else is he going to?”

The US Senior Open will get underway at Newport Country Club on Thursday. England’s Richard Bland is the current favourite to win another major title after his recent triumph at the Senior PGA Championship.

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